Toki Egin (Homenaje a San Juan de la Cruz) (Toki Egin [Homage to San Juan de la Cruz])

Eduardo Chillida

San Sebastián, Spain, 1924 - 2002
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    Corten steel
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  • Dimensions: 
    142 x 295 x 213 cm
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  • On display in:
    Sabatini Garden

Eduardo Chillida’s sculpture Toki Egin (Homenaje a San Juan de la Cruz) (Toki Egin [Homage to San Juan de la Cruz]), made between 1989 and 1990 as a homage to San Juan de la Cruz (1542-1591), is one of a group of works dedicated to the Spanish mystic shown at the Sankt Peter Church in Cologne in 1993. The Basque phrase “toki egin" means “make way”, and is a reference to a key idea in Chillida’s work from the 1970s on, about which he wrote: “Space remains anonymous as long as it is not limited. My works used to be the protagonists, but now they must be the means of making the space the protagonist […]. I want to enclose space in my work.” Toki Egin’s heavy concave shapes are linked to this expression of space, which in Chillida’s work echoes the Aristotelian concept of topos or space-place. Another significant key can be found in the fact that for Chillida, “constant rebellion against the laws of gravity has a religious aspect.” Toki Egin (Homenaje a San Juan de la Cruz) deals with hallowed spaces and consists of two Corten steel Latin crosses joined in a curve, embracing each other and defying the laws of gravity: a reference to the mystical embrace alluded to in the Spiritual Canticle. While the epithet “of the Cross” was added to St. John’s name to symbolise his inner purity, the sculptor is using the geometrical element for an action that has both spiritual and philosophical sides: the conception of space.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio